These are worms. Not the kind of worms
you find crawling in the dirt. These are parasitic roundworms. They live inside
a human being’s intestines. Each of these worms
can grow up to 12 inches long, and there are 200 of them
in this jar for a reason, because that is the number
you might typically find in the belly of a single infected child. Worm infections have been around
for thousands of years. They have influenced the outcomes of wars, and they have long stymied human health. Roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, schistosomiasis: infections from these species
cause pain and discomfort. They steal nutrients and zap energy. They stunt both physical
and cognitive growth. In most cases, these worms
may not be fatal, but paradoxically,
that’s part of the problem. It means that many countries simply have not been able
to prioritize their treatment. There’s a social cost to that: children without access
to deworming treatments have lower rates of school attendance. Adults who grow up
without deworming medicine are less productive
and have lower lifelong earnings. What intestinal worms do, really, is limit potential. Currently, there are 1.7 billion people
in the world still at risk for worms. Six hundred million of them are in Africa. For every dollar invested
in worm control and prevention, African countries see up to 42 dollars
return in economic benefits. The good news is that deworming
treatment is extremely easy. One to three pills
given once or twice a year is enough to take a child
from 200 worms to zero and to protect them
from infection going forward. In communities where
there’s a high prevalence of worms, treatment can be done right at school. This process is extremely simple and fast. In Ethiopia, for example,
this is done for 20 million children in a matter of weeks. The world has come a long way on getting deworming medicines
to the people who need them, and African governments
want to gain more traction. It’s now time to match their ambition. The END Fund will work with governments to create a plan that drastically reduces
the burden of disease caused by worms. They’ll work together to ensure
prevention and treatment programs can serve everyone. The END Fund has an audacious idea: they believe we are the generation to end
sickness from worm infections forever. The key is not simply to build
new programs from scratch, but to amplify the efforts of the programs
that are already taking shape. By examining the problem
of how worms transmit disease, the END Fund has identified five key areas
where they can drive improvement. Number one: lower the cost of treatment. Many pharmaceutical companies
offer deworming medicines for free, so the END Fund
works with the right partners to coordinate their delivery. They will continue
to secure drug donations for additional at-risk populations. They can now do it for less
than 25 cents per child per year. Number two: focus on prevention. The END Fund calls in the right partners
to educate communities on sanitation and hygiene in order to change behaviors
around things like hand-washing and latrine use, ensuring people
are not continually reinfected. Number three: invest in innovation. The END Fund has contributed to deworming by introducing innovative techniques
that effectively target and treat people. They will test new delivery methods, target the environments
where parasites thrive and influence behavior change. Number four: monitor and evaluate. The END Fund collects detailed data
on all programs on a regular basis to help them get better
and better over time. Number five: increase local ownership. At all stages of the process, the END Fund works with government
and local stakeholders to encourage cofinancing commitments
that support deworming efforts. They also worked
with African philanthropists and corporate leaders
to partner on these efforts. There’s an incredible opportunity
to work together to create a new system for disease elimination
for the next decade and beyond. Part of the money the END Fund needs will go directly toward delivering
deworming treatments to communities that need it and part will go towards facilitating
the handover of programs to local ownership. Together, these efforts will create
prevention and treatment programs that are sustainable far into the future. If this plan gets fully funded
for the next six years, tens of millions of people
will receive deworming treatment. With that, countries will be interrupting
the cycle of disease transmission at all levels, and most importantly, people
will experience significant improvements in their mental, physical
and social health. Just imagine the potential
that will be gained when people can stop worrying about these and can put their energy
into things like these. (Students’ overlapping voices) (Clapping and singing) (Cheering)